For the longest time Brazilian coffee was considered boring and plain. It was the kind of coffee that was used for instant coffee or for regular mass market blends that didn’t promise too much in the way of flavor or taste. "It was common knowledge that Brazilian coffee was just garbage," said Danny O'Neill, a specialty wholesale coffee roaster in Kansas City, Mo.
No longer. Brazilian coffee is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Brazil is one of the largest exporters of coffee – they produce up to a third of the world’s coffee beans.
Brazilian beans are sweet, nutty and full bodied but fare much better taste-wise when lightly roasted – not the dark roast that is popular at Starbucks and similar coffee houses. This because the beans are grown at lower altitudes and are therefore less dense that the beans grown at higher altitudes.
The beans do have different tastes and qualities depending on which region they are grown, but they are traditionally low acid – this allows the sweetness of the bean to come through – perfect for espressos.
"Specialty coffee always looked down on Brazil from the '70s forward, because it was low grown. Typically really fine coffees grow at over 4,000 feet in altitude, and Brazil's grow at 3,000 to 4,000 feet," said George Howell, a coffee roaster with a history in the specialty industry. Mr. Howell was responsible for sparking a change in Brazilian coffee's reputation when he started the Cup of Excellence contest in 1999. About 40 Brazilian coffee bean farmers put samples before a panel of judges who selected the ten best and put them up for Internet auction.
What is your favorite blend of coffee? Do you know the difference between a light roast and a dark roast? Let us know in the comments below.
Read about coffee’s ability to help you reduce your risk of diabetes.
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